Today’s post is going to be a bit different than our usual and will likely be a bit short. Today Notre Dame caught fire and “burned down”. At this point there is no reports of what the condition of the building is but nonetheless significant damage has occurred. There are few buildings as iconic as this cathedral and I feel bad for the people of France who have lost a building which has been a source of national pride for many years.
After reading the news including reports of a fire fighter who was seriously injured rescuing art from the blaze, we discussed the loss of material things vs the loss of a life. There are many horrible things happening in the world and yet today people everywhere mourn the loss of a building. Despite our beliefs that the loss of life is worse than the loss of a building, I felt conflicted because reading the news today felt like it was worse than merely losing a building and the contents within. Notre Dame and the art within has become a significant part of our culture. You hear the name everywhere from sports to Disney movies. While the Eiffel tower is more famous, you could show a picture of Notre Dame to nearly anyone and they will recognize it and which city it is in.
I have found it interesting to hear the way people have spoken about Notre Dame. At work I heard people discussing when they had the opportunity to visit and lamenting that an important memory from their travels had been changed forever. I know many people who grew up dreaming of going to Paris and for those who already have (ourselves included) the reality is the memory may never be able to be recreated. I also feel bad for those who were still dreaming of their first trip and had never seen this monument. This fire has also resulted in a tremendous loss for a religious community to whom this building meant something entirely different than a landmark on a vacation.
Considering all of these things today reminded me of some of the reasons that travelling is important. Having visited Notre Dame I feel more connected to a global community mourning the loss of a part of our memories. It also reminded me of why Rachel and I prioritize travel even if it is not the best financial decision. Too many people dream of travelling when they retire and save up for the future but you never know what the future holds. That trip you are dreaming of might not be possible in 20 years so always consider what you are gambling by waiting for a better time.